LSU picks up more All-American honors
BATON ROUGE, LA — The national honors continue to roll in for No. 1 ranked LSU as the Tigers placed three players on the Sports Illustrated All-America Team, the magazine and website announced on Tuesday.
Headlining the list for the Tigers is sophomore Tyrann Mathieu, who was named All-America at two positions – cornerback and punt returner. Mathieu, who finished fifth in the 2011 Heisman Trophy balloting, becomes the first player in school history to earn first-team All-America honors at two positions in the same season.
In just his second season, Mathieu took the college football world by storm in 2011, making big play after big play in leading the Tigers to a 13-0 record and a berth in next month’s BCS National Championship Game.
Mathieu, who led the Tigers with 70 tackles, ranks No.1 in the nation in fumbles recovered with five and third nationally in forced fumbles with six. Mathieu finished second in the nation in punt returns with a 16.2 average on 26 returns. Mathieu returned two punts for touchdowns – one 92 yards against Arkansas and the other coming a week later against Georgia.
Mathieu scored a total of four touchdowns in 2011, two coming by way of a punt return with the other two coming on fumble returns.
Other Tigers on the first team include junior cornerback Morris Claiborne and redshirt freshman punter Brad Wing.
Claiborne led the nation in interception return yardage with 173 on a team-high six interceptions. Claiborne, the 2011 recipient of the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back, has 46 tackles and six pass breakups for an LSU defense that ranks No. 2 in the nation in both scoring (10.5) and total defense (252.1).
Wing, a Melbourne, Australia native, had the best debut season for a punter in school history, averaging 44.1 yards on 50 punts. He had 23 punts downed inside the 20-yard line and 18 of his kicks went 50 yards or more. With pinpoint accuracy, Wing allowed just six punt return yards all year.
LSU offensive guard Will Blackwell and defensive end Sam Montgomery both earned second team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated.
Sports Illustrated All-America Team
First Team Offense
QB – Robert Griffin III, Jr., Baylor
RB – Montee Ball, Jr., Wisconsin
RB – Trent Richardson, Jr., Alabama
WR – Justin Blackmon, Jr., Oklahoma State
WR – Robert Woods, So., USC
TE – Dwayne Allen, Jr., Clemson
OL – Matt Kalil, Jr., USC
OL – David DeCastro, Sr., Stanford
OL – Grant Garner, Sr., Oklahoma State
OL – Kelechi Osemele, Sr., Iowa State
OL – Barrett Jones, Jr., Alabama
First Team Defense
DE – Whitney Mercilus, Jr., Illinois
DT – Devon Still, Sr., Penn State
DT – Brett Roy, Sr., Nevada
DE – Melvin Ingram, Sr., South Carolina
LB – Jarvis Jones, So., Georgia
LB – Luke Kuechly, Jr., Boston College
LB – Courtney Upshaw, Jr., Alabama
CB – Morris Claiborne, Jr., LSU
S – Mark Barron, Sr., Alabama
S – Markelle Martin, Sr., Oklahoma State
CB – Tyrann Mathieu, So., LSU
K – Randy Bullock, Sr., Texas A&M
P – Brad Wing, Fr., LSU
PR – Tyrann Mathieu, So., LSU
KR – Sammy Watkins, Fr., Clemson